marles writes

If someone had to write a novel about me, I'd want it to be Kureishi.

Month: October, 2011

When She Was Having Most Fun

I don’t know who said it first,
that ‘something has to change,’
but you both spoke the words
with similar sincerity and dissimilar
meaning: you got to your feet and left;
she went into a handstand and stayed there
for longer than she should have.
I know you know,
but I wonder, did you care?
‘If you don’t know the answer yourself, I have no intention of telling you.’
That’s what she said then
and later. ‘Fair’s fair, above all else,’
you know?
Not really.
Not then, anyway,
and, really, what good is now?
She was nine years old, and she lived there
all alone. I should think there had to be some
You have no idea how ticklish she is.


About a Poem and a Boy

You loved the drunken stride from there to bed.
You told me so when you had read line four.
I loved ‘my shoulder-blades against your chest’,
the way it subtly spoke of so much more.
I know you’d favour that, too, if I asked.
I’d easily explain and make you see
of all the lines the poet here amassed
we’re most clearly defined by these lines three:
the first is how a sleep broke on a hug;
the length of bodies pressed is number two;
the third one speaks of a grand passion, but
I’d swear ours felt familiar, wouldn’t you?
A future set and signed by cupping feet
and hearts that pound increasingly offbeat.

Third Time’s a Charm

Two things I took from the boat
when I could tell it was sinking:
the book and the letter you wrote.

Not that either will keep me afloat,
but I guess I wasn’t really thinking.
Two things I took from the boat,

proof that I haven’t just made you my scape goat
’cause I can tell you without blinking,
‘the book and the letter you wrote,

a letter, which was more of a note,
really, their desired effect was pure wishful thinking.’
Two things I took from the boat,

most important a letter – no, a note,
that’s all – what were you thinking?
The book and the letter you wrote,

a letter that said, ‘I’m sorry’, only that, that’s an actual quote.
How should that keep me afloat as we’re sinking?
Two things I took from the boat:
the book and the letter you wrote.

Before I Wake Up

Grab the bag,
the one with the twelve newly-ironed shirts in it,
seven pairs of trousers, pants, and three pairs of shoes.
Put the things you removed from it this morning back into it.
Even if it doesn’t seem important,
it is.
Put your shoes on, then your jacket. You are leaving this basement.
It’s cold down here and you don’t want to be cold.
It’s cold out there, too, but remember:
it’s only temporary.
Once you start moving, you’ll get warmer.
Tell yourself that,
believe it. She does.
Now, leave the room, close the door behind you.
Have a final look around the basement:
the painting on the wall,
the one with the roses on it, you would’ve never chosen that for yourself;
and the old pieces of furniture
that smell nothing like home, and feel nothing like home.
Admit that you don’t prefer this place at all.
Admit that time won’t change that,
then fasten your hand around the strap of the bag
and place it over your shoulder,
it’s yours to carry, but you’re allowed to make it easier on yourself.
You’re not the villain yet,
and ‘I’m sorry’ will get you far.
She will tell you so, too,
just give her time.
Take a deep breath and get it over with:
walk to the basement door and unlock it,
walk through it and don’t look back,
and don’t worry, you’re leaving nothing behind
apart from a life you won’t want anyway.
Hear that door close behind you and admit that that’s true.
Walk up the steps to the backyard.
Look at it one last time if you still need reminding
that this is not the garden you want, more roses.
Then walk away, you know where to.
Three turns and you’ll regain everything you lost.

On Hope

I don’t remember the day I met you,
and I’m not exactly sure who saw whom, but I think it was me
who saw you across the room.
And then that was it,
I took you home.
I reckoned you could teach me everything.

Not that I should want to learn everything,
and especially not from someone like you,
but your honesty provided a home
for now, for me,
and, if I’m to be completely honest about it,
within, your apathy was a welcomed single room.

How I liked that room!
In it you questioned everything.
What mattered, if any of it?
Inquiring you,
and imitating me.
Together we sought out a new home.

And what a beautiful home, our home.
One hundred and eighteen white walls made up our room.
You wrote your history on all of them and in it I saw myself, me,
recognized every detail. Everything.
That was the day I realised I may not be imitating you
at all. But that’s not good, is it?

Have I said it?
That you remind me of someone from back home?
I think that was the intrigue about you:
you could teach me, in this room,
about him and, by extension, about me.

I used to say he wasn’t like me,
but that’s not the case, is it?
You enlightened me about everything.
It takes guts to admit you know nothing about your heart or your home.
More so to admit that there’s a lack of both. In a single room
you told me that there was for you. Fearless you.

You walked into the room and I followed you.
Revisiting your home, I saw the faults in the one that had belonged to me,
and you made me see it: If I forgive, we can change everything.

Marla + Marlon

We row out in the boat.
You say, ‘this is the deepest we’ll ever get.’
Kiss me on the forehead,
and we’re back in the bed.
You say, ‘I love how selfish you are.’
I kiss you on the tip of your nose,
you say, ‘I love it when you do that.’
And I tell you that I’m aware.
I tell you I’m aware.
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.
Whatever you ask of me I will see it through.

You take my hand and we’re in the garden.
I’m wearing your coat because the days are getting short.
You say, ‘I love how you’re the coldest person
that I have ever known,’
and crack a joke about how I’ll be once we’ve grown old.
You lay me down on the ground,
lay down on top of me. I say,
‘I don’t let people in ’cause I’m afraid to lose,’
and you ask me, ‘what about me?’
I say, ‘I’ll probably never know,
but I do love your smile, and
I love the way you don’t use it much.’
You laugh and roll down to my right,
say, ‘there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.
Whatever you ask of me I promise I will see it through.’

It begins to rain and we both get up.
We stand there getting soaking wet,
the water clinging to our clothes.
I jump up, break through the surface to the other side.
You’re right behind,
and we climb into the boat on the lake and scream our love at the sky.
You shout, ‘she’s the proudest person that I have ever known,’
and I shout back that I am grateful for everything you’ve ever shown me.
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you.
Whatever you ask of me I promise I will see it through.

I jump into the bed and you follow.
I say, ‘I claim you as mine,’ and you laugh.
I say, ‘I can’t live without you, I can’t.’
If nothing else I am certain about that.